Military Service and Religious Liberty

Al Mohler addresses a very timely and surely controversial subject in his latest article.

In the days since the shootings, the question of Muslims serving in the U.S. military has been unavoidable. In one sense, the question is hardly new. It arose in the first Gulf War when Muslims asked if it could be allowable to serve in the U.S. military when action was taken in or against a Muslim majority nation. Clearly, the question now arises in the case of Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Evidence that Hasan cried out a Muslim expression during the attack, that he had visited a mosque linked to Muslim extremism, and that he had been in contact with suspected Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda only served to add urgency to the questions.

The United States military is made up of citizen soldiers, and is an all-voluntary force. These citizen-soldiers defend our freedoms and constitutional rights, and they do not surrender their constitutional rights when they put on the uniform. Our cherished rights of religious belief and expression are not canceled when individuals enter the Armed Forces.

At the same time, the military is a unique institution -- a fact recognized by law. Voluntary enlistment in the Armed Forces entails the assumption of certain limitations and responsibilities that are necessary for the maintenance of military order and effectiveness.

Given our commitment to religious liberty, we must make every reasonable accommodation to the religious beliefs of military personnel. These accommodations range from the provision of military chaplains and chapels to the category of conscientious objector, based in religious conviction. Complex questions do arise, and in the context of deployment to battle the questions of accommodating religious belief can erupt in excruciatingly difficult forms.
Read the entire article HERE.